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6 Feb 2003 : Column 448W—continued

Nurse Recruitment

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 14 January, Official Report, column 535W, on nurse recruitment, what the cost was to his Department of investigating breaches in the Code of Conduct in 2001–02; and what budget has been set aside for (a) 2002–03 and (b) 2003–04 for such investigations. [95860]

Mr. Hutton: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on Wednesday 5 February 2003.

Paediatric Nurse Training

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many paediatric nurse training places were available in each of the last 10 years; and how many applications were received for each training place. [92539]

Mr. Hutton: Between 1992–93 and 2001–02, the number of nurses entering training to become children's nurses has increased by over 1,300, or 155 per cent., from 851 to 2,172. Applications to children's nursing diploma courses have increased by nearly 10,000, or 108 per cent., between 1997–98 and 2000–01.

Nursing and midwifery admissions service data on applications to nursing courses is only available for children's branch diploma courses from 1997–98. Information from 2001–02 is not yet available. Information on applications for degree courses is not broken down by branch.

6 Feb 2003 : Column 449W

In addition, nurses who trained in the other three branches can undertake further training to specialise as a children's nurse such post-registration commissions are not included in the data.

Pre-registration children's nurse training places and applicationsAnnual Commissions(17)

TotalDiplloma coursesDegree coursesApplications to diploma courses(18)

(17) Not available


1. 1992–93 to 1995–96 from balance sheets

1996–97 and 1998–99 from finance and workforce Information returns

1999–00 to 2001–02 from quarterly monitoring reports

2002–03 data is forecast from quarterly monitoring and is subject to change

2. Nursing and midwifery admissions service

3. Figures are commissions for a 1st qualification as a nurse by diploma and degree courses.

Passive Smoking

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had on the measures needed to protect the public from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. [93622]

Ms Blears: Full information on environmental tobacco smoke is published by the Department in the leaflet, "Passive Smoking—What it is and what you can do".

We are working closely with the hospitality trade to develop the Public Places Charter designed to provide customers with clear information on the type of smoking policy operating in a particular establishment and allow them to make an informed choice.

We are also increasing the visibility of health messages highlighting to smokers the risks environmental tobacco smoke presents. This is through regulations to transpose into United Kingdom law the EU Directive on the Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco Products. These regulations require tobacco products to carry larger and starker health warnings, on both the front and back of the packet. The dangers of passive smoking are highlighted in two of the new warnings which include ''Smoking seriously harms you and others around you" and "Protect children: don't make them breathe your smoke" The contents of tobacco smoke are also highlighted in a warning saying, "Smoke contains benzene, nitrosomines, formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide".

We are encouraging all employers to introduce smoke-free work places. This year the Department is funding local tobacco control alliances across England to carry out projects in close co-operation with local

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employers to tackle passive smoking and to increase the number of smoke-free environments. These projects vary in nature from the production of smoke-free guides to pubs and restaurants to the provision of advice and support to managers wishing to introduce policies. We hope that many will be suitable for national application.

Patients (Home Treatment)

Mr. Havard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether it is the Government's policy that where clinically possible patients should be treated at (a) home and (b) day centres, rather than be admitted to hospital. [95572]

Mr. Hutton: The Government's vision in the NHS Plan is to provide fast and convenient care, available when people require it and tailored to their individual needs.

We are taking forward programmes of work to increase capacity and deliver a wider range of services in primary and community settings, using general practitioners and nurses with specialist skills, in a modern, efficient and integrated way, which is convenient for patients. This will involve, for example, millions more outpatient appointments taking place in the community rather than in hospital.

In addition, the day surgery operational guide, published in August 2002 makes it clear that, where a patient requires a procedure that can be performed as a day case, it should be assumed that the procedure will take place as a day case, unless it is not possible or the patient asks to be admitted as an inpatient. Patients receive treatment that is suited to their needs and which allows them to recover in their own home. The risk of hospital acquired infection is also reduced.

To support this, we are also creating additional capacity in diagnosis and treatment centres, which provide high quality, scheduled, booked care for a pre-defined range of elective treatments and diagnostics. These will be geared towards patient convenience.

Performance Targets

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what level of output in 2005–06 would qualify as a failure to meet his Department's value for money target as defined in the technical note to the 2002 Spending Review value for money target; and if he will make a statement. [94597]

Mr. Lammy: The value for money public service agreement (PSA) target requires that value for money in the national health service and personal social services will improve by at least 2 per cent. per annum, with annual improvements of 1 per cent. in both cost efficiency and service effectiveness.

It is therefore the cost and quality of the delivered output rather than the volume of output that will be used to measure progress against the PSA target.

For the NHS, the cost element of the PSA will be measured using changes in reference costs. The quality element of the target will be assessed by comparing the estimated expenditure on increasing service effectiveness with data on quality. A key element of this

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will be the value that can be placed on the lives saved from reducing mortality following health care interventions.

For personal social services, costs will be based on unit costs of services, after some adjustments to allow for increases in funding for quality improvements. The quality element will be based on the quality indicators published by the Department.

Public Health Laboratory Service

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons he is (a) dismantling the network of Public Health Laboratory Service laboratories and (b) transferring microbiology services to the NHS. [94939]

Ms Blears: We want to raise standards in clinical microbiology and public health microbiology in all the laboratories serving the health service. We believe that the action we are taking is the best way of achieving this. It includes:

The changes we are setting in place will facilitate the creation of a comprehensive network of accredited microbiology pathology laboratories within the NHS, building on the existing networks operating in the public health laboratory service (PHLS) and on the emerging NHS pathology networks.

The aim is to ensure that the NHS has networks of laboratories, which achieve uniformly high standards; an arrangement similar to that which is proposed for Wales and which has been welcomed by many commentators. The past distinction between PHLS laboratories and those under local management has not been conducive to achieving uniformly high standards in all laboratories.

The transfer of laboratories away from PHLS does not represent a fundamental change in the provision of clinical microbiology: it has long been the case that the bulk of such services have been provided by NHS trusts and there are several precedents for laboratories transferring from PHLS to the NHS.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many service level agreements will be required after 1 April to ensure the continuance of the work done by the Public Health Laboratory Service on pneumococcal disease. [95668]

Ms Blears: There will be no service level agreements to maintain the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) co-ordinated programmes on pneumococcal disease.

All work for the Department by PHLS on pneumococcal disease is part of the core funding provided by the Department.

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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure that accommodation used for public health work is protected when the management of public health laboratories transfers to local NHS trusts. [95696]

Ms Blears: The laboratories transferring to national health service trusts are being transferred together with their current accommodation. We expect that the accommodation which is currently utilised for public health will continue to be used for that purpose.

It will be the role of local Health Protection Agency public health microbiologists and the HPA regional public health microbiologist to ensure that the public health outputs of transferred, and other, laboratories are maintained.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the continuance of work undertaken by the Public Health Laboratory Service on pneumococcal disease, when the laboratory network is reformed. [95698]

Ms Blears: All work currently undertaken by Public Health Laboratory Service laboratories on pneumococcal disease will continue under the direction of the new Health Protection Agency.

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